Jerusalem: Haley sends warning letter to UN members

US ambassador warns General Assembly members that the ‘president will be watching’ before vote on status of Jerusalem.

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley, centre, vetoed an Egyptian-drafted resolution that called on countries to not establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem [Justin Lane/EPA]

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has sent a threatening letter to members of the UN General Assembly before a vote on a resolution against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In the letter, obtained by Haaretz, Haley wrote that US President Donald Trump “will be watching [Thursday’s] vote carefully” and “requested I report back on those who voted against us …”

The warning came after the US was outnumbered 14 to 1 as it vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Monday against Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.

Trump announced on December 6 that the US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.

The move led to a wave of global protests, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in recent days to denounce his decision.

Threatening words

Furious over the Security Council resolution against the move, Haley on Tuesday said it was “an insult” that would “not be forgotten”.

“It’s one more example of the UN doing more harm than good in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” she said on Twitter.


Haley’s letter to the General Assembly members echoed her tweets, in which she said the US “will be taking names” during Thursday’s vote, which is expected to pass with an overwhelming majority.

“As you know, the General Assembly is considering a resolution about President Trump’s recent decision on Jerusalem. As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the US take this vote personally,” Haley said in the letter.

“Twenty-two years ago, the US Congress declared that Jerusalem should be recognised as the capital of Israel, and that the US embassy should be moved to Jerusalem. President Trump affirmed that declaration by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” she wrote.

“However, the president’s announcement does not affect final status negotiations in any way, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.

“The president also made sure to support the status quo of Jerusalem’s holy sites, and did not advocate changes to arrangements at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif,” Haley added in her letter.

‘US will not be able to use privilege’

Anticipating the US veto in the Security Council, the Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank promised to take the issue to the General Assembly to seek the passing of a resolution there.

Riyad al-Maliki, foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), said in a statement on Monday: “The member states of the General Assembly will be asked to vote on the same draft resolution that we presented to the Security Council, which the US has blocked with the veto.

“In the General Assembly, the US will not be able to use this privilege,” he added.

Since the 1970s, when it first began exercising its veto power, the US has shot down some 42 Security Council resolutions relating to Israel and its actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Turkey, a long-time ally of Palestine, is also leading efforts to pass a resolution through the UN’s General Assembly.

A vote in favour of the resolution in the 193-member UN General Assembly, however, is not legally binding. This means it would only serve as a recommendation and would act as an expression of the international community’s stance on Jerusalem.

At the request of Turkey and Yemen, the UN General Assembly is set to meet at 15:00 GMT on Thursday for the discussion about Jerusalem.

Source: Al Jazeera